Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was bullish in his much anticipated keynote at Mobile World Congress, stating the company remained at the forefront of the internet TV market, amid competition from technology rivals and media players.
Hastings, appearing in the evening keynote today, predicted that all video in the next 10 to 20 years will be on the internet, so the level of competition did not surprise him. He said the company planned to continue to stay ahead of the game by continuing to place content innovation at the heart of its strategy.
“The way that internet TV is moving means there is competition from all sides,” he said. “They are not trying to kill us, because they too are serving consumers. We have seen YouTube, Amazon and even BBC open up globally, and there are now lots of TV networks bring content on the internet. Rather than getting run over by this, we are excited to be, and continue to be, at the forefront.”
One of Hastings’ major talking points during the speech was the fact that Netflix now operates globally, which means “entertainment is now about connecting people”.
The company has launched in 130 countries, pretty much everywhere except China, and is closing in on 100 million subscribers. He said the challenge was now ensuring that its subscribers all over the world were able to access the same quality of Netflix experience “simultaneously”, and this is of course dependent on the internet and mobile networks.
“Some people in this room are old enough to remember dial up internet, and now that seems like such a relic,” he said. “We want to do that to buffering across the world. We are going to see that someday the Netflix experience on mobile, laptop and TV is instant.”
He said the company is already investing in developing better and more efficient networks with ISPs and operators across the world. But to fuel Netflix uptake on mobile networks in the short term, Hastings also appeared to back operators that are zero-rating video, as a way of avoiding high data caps and high prices.
“In the early days of the internet, there’s things we obviously don’t love, and that’s data caps. Some companies are offering unlimited for video, but perhaps at limited quality, and that could be a more efficient use of the network.”